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'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics, "Unsuitable" for Young Children
LifeSiteNews.com ^ | 12/4/2006 | John-Henry Westen

Posted on 12/04/2006 7:52:47 PM PST by Pyro7480

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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
Mark 2:1-2 : 1..Luke 4:42-44 : 42...Luke 5:1-3 ...

But He clearly also says to the disciples that they have been given the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven and not the crowds.  So, while He is obviously preaching to the people and healing, He was preaching the Tanakh, reading the scrolls in the synagogues and quoting the prophets and Psalms while revealing the secrets of the Kingdom of God only to His disciples. Two different things. You are right, there is no way around it. He preached one thing to the crowds and another to the disciples.

16,151 posted on 07/16/2007 12:22:18 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "Mark 12:10-11 : 10 Haven't you read this scripture : "...[Jesus specifically endorses/commands reading the scripture.]"

Of course He is. He is addressing scribes and priests, FK. It was their job to read the scriptures.

Ah, the old contained message ploy. So, I suppose that all He said to them at the end of chapter 11 through here is also not for us, but only for them and your leaders? Further, it appears that your fair reading of this is that Jesus never tells us to read the scriptures, but luckily, we have the hierarchy of your Church to thank for their permission to do so. Now, if this is true, what is the value to us in reading all these contained messages, if none of them are directed to us? How could a layman POSSIBLY know, verse by verse, which verses apply to him and which are only for your leaders? (You told me earlier that as far as pronounced dogma goes, your leaders have only put forth a very limited amount.) I mean, if Jesus never talked to the crowds, all the other times He spoke He was only talking to specific people, so, what is left over for us and how would we know it?

FK: "John 10:35 : If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came — and the Scripture cannot be broken—...[If Jesus says that scripture cannot be broken, is it possible He thinks we should follow it?]"

If the scripture cannot be broken, it doesn't matter if we follow it or not, does it? Besides, one does not read the scriptures in order that he may believe, but because he already believes.

That's true, but it does support my position that Jesus is telling us to read and follow the scriptures. We do not need the permission of your leaders to know it is right to do so.

FK: "James 2:8 : 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture , "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right...[James seems to think we should follow scripture]"

He is addressing the believers too who, by definition, already follow the scripture.

OK, so I hope we can now agree that the Bible is clear on this by itself.

The Orthodox Church recognizes that the scriptures are God-inspired human creation, expressing inerrant spiritual truth, but not free from human error.

Oh, OK. I didn't know that the Church's position was that the Bible is spiritually correct, but is nonetheless a fallible, man-made document.

The Jews believe that Torah was dictated to Moses word-by-word and therefore actually "written" by God using Moses' hand and therefore free from any kind of error. I am pretty sure the Protestant/Baptist communities believe the same for the entire Bible.

We do believe that the Bible is free from any kind of error, but we also recognize that the personalities of the authors do work their way into the writings. So, the authors wrote, and every word they wrote was first approved by God. When Jesus spoke of not altering a jot or a tittle, it was not because man was lucky enough to get it right to the extent of his contribution. The only way for it to be perfect, (I believe the original Bible is perfect), would be for God to be in full control of its writing.

My point was that God never tells us "read the Bible." The quotes you give me use the Bible as the proof of what He was saying. Not an invitation to read the Bible.

Well shoot, I thought we agreed after the James quote. :) So I take it then that all glory should be given to your hierarchy for their permission and instruction to read the scriptures? :)

16,152 posted on 07/16/2007 12:25:14 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "... Therefore, God has always been the authority of His Church."

How could He always be the head of His Church when there were always no believers? The church is based on faith in Jesus Christ, for which one needs believers in Jesus Christ for a Church (ekklesia, gathering of the faithful) to exist. The Head existed, but not the Body. The High Priest existed, but not the congregation. God was always authority unto Himself, but his authority in the Church was not when the Church was not.

I'm not sure I follow you. God was the head of all believers in the OT, and when the NT Church formed, He was the head and full authority of that also. When were there no believers?

FK: "I'm talking about leadership here, along the lines of "Luke 12:48 ... From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be basked."

I hope you recognize yourself included in that statement. When you can tell me you have not failed, even once, I will reconsider.

I am only included to the extent of a semi-informed layman. That is to a lesser degree than my theologically trained pastor, and, presumably, infinitely less than Apostolic successors who have been given supernatural powers through Holy Orders. And no, I have never failed to the extent of the people I am talking about. The Bible teaches that some sins are worse than others. (Obviously the Latins use venial and mortal.) Christ speaks specifically about certain sins, and how it would be better for offenders had they never been born. Peter was indeed a lowly sinner, but he CHANGED after his "Holy Orders". There are too many who have apparently NOT changed for me to believe that Apostolic succession is real.

And [Apostolic successors] fall much lower than you and I, precisely because they have been given so much more.

What? How does that work? Should I expect the worst criminals in our society to be Apostolic clergy? :)

But don't you think it should be up to God to pronounce judgment on them rather than my sinful self or yours?

I don't judge their souls, but I do judge their conduct. The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters, and it appears that way too many in high positions have decided on a master I cannot follow. I do not believe in Clintonian compartmentalization. I absolutely believe that Clinton's moral failures fully affected him as a leader. Even if I wasn't a conservative, I could never trust him because his core morality was clear, and it was un-Godly. It is the same here. We CANNOT say that so and so is still a good priest or Bishop, even given that he did thus and such. That will never fly with me. It would be a full abdication of the accountability that you tell me your priests and Bishops have.

Is it not like one criminal calling another criminal a criminal?

No, it is not like that at all. By that standard, we should simply empty all the prisons because no one has standing to accuse another of wrongdoing. In addition, this philosophy would have hierarchs look the other way while Apostolic clergy commit heinous crimes. Given today's news, I guess that has already happened within the Church.

16,153 posted on 07/16/2007 1:59:26 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
You told me earlier that as far as pronounced dogma goes, your leaders have only put forth a very limited amount

We go through biblical verses in the Divine Liturgy, through our prayers, and through the readings of the Epistles of +Paul and the Gospels. Not all of the NT is read throughout the year. The OT readings are done at through the year at Vespers (Saturday evening prayers) and during the Great Lent (40 days).

That's true, but it does support my position that Jesus is telling us to read and follow the scriptures

He is not telling ordinary people to read the Scripture. That's not how Judaism operated. ordinary people did not have access to biblical scrolls.

OK, so I hope we can now agree that the Bible is clear on this by itself

Inasmuch as those who believed Jesus believed what He said was in Scriptures. There are many things Christ taught that was not in Scriptures that they believed as John tells us and is not written down but is obviously the same as Scriptures. The people then believed the Church and the NT and the OT to interpret both correctly and trusted the Church to compile  in Judaism or Christianity -- until of course, the Reformers.

We do believe that the Bible is free from any kind of error

A cursory study of the Bible reveals that your belief is wrong. The Christian Bible has undergone massive and radical alterations in its

16,154 posted on 07/16/2007 4:03:26 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
So, then you do agree that God ordained His priesthood apart from the priesthood of all believers?

Yes, and I know where you are going. :) God ordained both His true priests and He also ordained THAT there would be false priests. We are told of them in scriptures. It puzzles me though, what message God is sending when so many false priests wind up in the same group. :) By no means is my side immune, but perhaps the reason that we get less press is that once it happens in one of our churches, it is dealt with and the person is gone forever. At least in the SBC, I can't speak for other Protestant denominations, there is no condoning of the conduct by the leaders, and offenders are not simply shuffled off to another church to continue offending. This is the part that boils my blood the most.

How is hierarchy involved in the process of our salvation? You need to read the link I gave Ping-Pong on the Eastern Orthodox Church and look up salvation and escathology. I don't think you will find that priests somehow determine our salvation.

Your priests and Bishops, to the exclusion of all others, are dispensers of the sacraments, which are normally necessary for salvation/theosis. You told me recently that it is not a firm requirement that a priest perform a valid baptism, so I'll let that one go. However, what about sins after that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought a priest or a Bishop MUST administer the sacrament of confession to cleanse the penitent of his sins so he is fit for Heaven. Under normal circumstances, this would make the clergy indispensable to the theosis of a layman, if I understand it correctly. I KNOW the clergy are indispensable for the Latins, but I am not certain about the Orthodox.

FK: "Are THESE the people God REALLY left in charge of His flock, over and above all others, including other Christian clergy? If I was considering becoming an Apostolic, that would be a very hard question for me."

Is Judas? Besides, a dishonest priest does not invalidate his consecrations with his dishonesty. His orders are still valid; it is his life that is sinful, not the keys God gave him.

Is Judas what? A valid priest in God's Church? No way. He was false. ....... Now, I know this makes me a Donatist, but I don't see how Holy Orders can still be valid if a priest or Bishop de facto renounces them by his fruits. The Latins believe that salvation itself can be renounced through conduct, so for them, apparently a lost person, doomed for hell (since the offender is unlikely to confess in this case), can still have valid Holy Orders within the Church. That is actually a very scary thought. :)

You are making an unjustified exception. First, the Orthodox do not consider their priests and bishops as "holy" by virtue of their profession.

I don't know what "holy" has to do with anything here. I assume Holy Orders are conferred regardless of the holiness of the recipient. One just goes through the system. In any event, Holy Orders and supernatural powers are only given to priests and Bishops, not members of any other profession. That means the standard is the highest for them before God. They have been given the most, for they are responsible for taking care of God's most prized possession, His sheep. How could they not have been given the most?

FK: "It would definitely say something about the legal system if the average untrained layman was a better lawyer than THOUSANDS (a noteworthy percentage) of trained attorneys. However, this is exactly what we see, by comparison, in Apostolic history."

I will ask you to back this up with more than your opinion. I reject this as a strawman.

No problem. I'll even forget the sins of history and just talk about today. Now, first we have to establish that there is some imaginary "line of sin" that we are drawing. That is, such sin committed by clergy that is above and beyond the normal level of sin committed by any in the faithful laity, since becoming Christian. We need to do this to keep the comparison with other professions. So, I will assert that pedophilia is one such sin. In Wiki's article Roman Catholic sex abuse cases it says this:

"Early reports came mostly from the United States and Ireland. The John Jay Report[1] found accusations against 4,392 priests in the USA, about 4% of all priests."

Now this is just in the United States alone, never mind the rest of the world. Certainly some of those accusations are false, but it is also true that some true violations are never reported. ------ I would say that another sin that crosses "the line" in this context is the practice of homosexuality. Now, again just staying in the RCC, Wiki says the following in Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic priesthood :

"Estimating the number of homosexuals in a given population can be problematic due to problems of measurement, definition, and heterogeneous geographic distribution. Estimates in large populations range from 1% to 15%, with a mean of 4%-5%."

Now, Wiki IS Wiki, so this isn't gospel, BUT Catholics have every chance in the world to correct the record if they think they are being shortchanged in this. Apparently there are no takers. Another Wiki article says that there are just over 500,000 priests between you and the Latins. So, even if the number is as low as 4-5%, and there is no way in the universe it is that low, that still leaves 25,000 practicing homosexual priests, a significant number.


16,155 posted on 07/16/2007 4:19:37 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
But if all people on earth were like Ghandi, I believe the earth would be a lot more 'godly' then it is now.

But if all the people on earth were like Ghandi there would be no Christians. :)

It takes a lot more than accepting Christ to be Christ-like.

I agree. But I do consider it a prerequisite to being Christ-like that the person accept Christ. After accepting Christ we would call the process of becoming Christ-like sanctification. I think of this as being similar to seeking theosis.

16,156 posted on 07/16/2007 4:46:33 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
I'm not sure I follow you. God was the head of all believers in the OT, and when the NT Church formed, He was the head and full authority of that also. When were there no believers?

Surely you don't suggest the Jews were "true" believers before Christ? Surely you don't suggest the Jews had fullness of God's revelation! The few had a better idea of God and their faith was steadfast, but there could not have been a true Church without Christ. If it were, then what was Christ doing building His Church on the rock of faith given to Peter? The Church was established on the Pentecost, 33 A.D.

And no, I have never failed to the extent of the people I am talking about. The Bible teaches that some sins are worse than others. (Obviously the Latins use venial and mortal.) Christ speaks specifically about certain sins, and how it would be better for offenders had they never been born

Oh, I see. First the Bible does not teach that some sins are worst then others. It says that there is only one sin for which there can be no absolution -- blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. No reason is given for this.

Second, the Orthodox Churches does not distinguish between venial and mortal sins. To us, all sin is sin. As St. James says

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all -- James 2:10

And mercy is one thing we must show in order to receive mercy.

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment -- James 10:13

Do not feel yourself "worthy" of God's mercy just because you have sinned "less" in your eyes the the clergy you loathe.

[re And [Apostolic successors] fall much lower than you and I, precisely because they have been given so much more] How does that work?

It's that talent thing. They have been given so much and if they fail they have so much more to answer for.

I don't judge their souls, but I do judge their conduct. The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters, and it appears that way too many in high positions have decided on a master I cannot follow

And what master do we follow? God or money? Ambition or virtue? I find it funny to read something like this in a country founded on predatory capitalism, materialism, secularism lifestyle, and above all love for money. We seem to have done pretty good serving both masters, FK, don't you think?  We even have God on our money, so we can love both!

You just have a think about clergy. It almost seems as something deep-seated. perhaps you can show me what master did they decide to follow that makes them worse than any other human being? And while you are at it, remember that RCC has 1.2 billion members and EOC about 300 million. How many priests are involved? One thousand, ten thousand? Ten thousand is 0.0006% for 1.5 billion (1,500,000,000) people. That would leave 99.999% of the priests serving God. I'd say, that's pretty impressive. And let's be generous, and say 1 million priests are serving the other master, that gives us 0.7% (less than 1%) with 99% of all priests serving God.

What are your figures?

I do not believe in Clintonian compartmentalization. I absolutely believe that Clinton's moral failures fully affected him as a leader. Even if I wasn't a conservative, I could never trust him because his core morality was clear, and it was un-Godly

Clinton lied under oath and should have been in a slammer for 30 years because that's what we ordinary "mortals" get and what the law calls for. What's un-Godly is that we are all equal but some of us are apparently more equal in a country that prides itself on being based on the rule of law!

And how is Clinton's lying any different than the one who lied us into a war in Iraq while pursuing agendas of dubious national interest instead of going after the guy who is responsible for the 9/11?

By that standard, we should simply empty all the prisons because no one has standing to accuse another of wrongdoing. In addition, this philosophy would have hierarchs look the other way while Apostolic clergy commit heinous crimes. Given today's news, I guess that has already happened within the Church

No, conduct that is evil should not, must not be tolerated. There is a difference between topping and avoiding and returning evil for evil. We don't have vigilante groups meeting out their own brand of justice. Our judicial system tries to give most people a chance to reform, which is the way it should be. I just don't agree with providing them with the kind of accommodations they get on taxpayers' money. I believe in dungeons,  a place no one would ever want to come back to.

16,157 posted on 07/16/2007 5:08:23 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine

between topping and avoiding = stopping and avoiding... (sorry)


16,158 posted on 07/16/2007 5:09:24 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
But, how does he tempt us? He puts temptations in our path and we do the rest. God gives us blessings and we do the rest. When tempted, we can do two things: give in or refuse. When we are showered with blessings, we can do two things: thank God and use them to bless others, or use them to do selfish and evil things. For that we can't blame God or satan, but only ourselves. "Blame yourself first" teach the Orthodox fathers.

OK, and we were talking about whether satan engages us. I said that if he does not, then neither does God. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you appear to say that God does not engage us either, here. I would say that BOTH actively engage us. satan does because he tailors and personalizes his temptations to us. satan could put a vial of crack cocaine in my hand and my reaction would be nothing. However, there are other things that would cause me great distress. I believe this is engagement. Similarly, in the opposite direction, God also puts things before me as blessings. MANY times there is nothing left for me to do. I don't always have to "accept" a blessing from God. It just happens and I am thankful.

Eve, attracted by the fruit, rationalized "Why shouldn't I be able to have it when it's here? after all God gave it to me." We do this every day. There is no "serpent" talking us into doing that which is unrighteous. We do all the talking!

Your rationalization does not fit the scripture. To get to your conclusion one must completely ERASE Gen. 3:1-5 (along with verses 13-15, which also erases the Christ reference, BTW). Simply erase it out of existence. It is of no value, apparently, to you. It must mean nothing. Certainly, using that hermeneutic selectively will lead directly to the Apostolic view of scripture. Perhaps that is the only way. :) Needless to say, we see it differently.

16,159 posted on 07/16/2007 6:56:41 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you appear to say that God does not engage us either, here. I would say that BOTH actively engage us. satan does because he tailors and personalizes his temptations to us

God gives blessings to the righteous and unrighteous without prejudice or partiality.

As far as temptation is concerned

"each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust" (James 1:14)

We give life to evil. If all the people renounced evil, evil would disappear. Evil has no life of its own. It gets its existence from us, and us alone. Where else would evil come from if not from our rejection of God?

16,160 posted on 07/16/2007 8:56:53 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Certainly, using that hermeneutic selectively will lead directly to the Apostolic view of scripture. Perhaps that is the only way. :) Needless to say, we see it differently.

It's not the Apostolic view. It's putting the responsibility squarely on us and not passing the buck. We can follow God or we can reject Him. What matters is not what we preach, but what we practice. Now that we know the good and evil, we have a choice. Evil can be eradicated in one day. God's prosecutor general could be out of his job for good.

16,161 posted on 07/16/2007 10:09:38 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
But if all the people on earth were like Ghandi there would be no Christians

Yeah, who'd want a peaceful world free of evil if it were not Christian?

16,162 posted on 07/16/2007 10:13:53 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Look, in my post 16157 I am not sure what I was thinking when I presented those figures (I was seriosuly distracted, I am sorry). Obviously I was talking about the number of Catholics instead of priests. Duh! Please disregard.

But going back toy our Wiki data, the other way to look at it is that 95% of all priests in the US are not homosexuals.

Your data also doesn't show how many of the homosexual priests are active pedophiles. Judging from the number of court settlements (over $1 billion), it looks like about 1,500 accusations have been filed, not necessarily against 1,500 priests, over a period of time of some 50 years.

I am sorry, I just don't see that to be a number that makes the Catholic Church nearly as bad as some are trying to make.

16,163 posted on 07/16/2007 10:34:13 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
At least in the SBC, I can't speak for other Protestant denominations, there is no condoning of the conduct by the leaders, and offenders are not simply shuffled off to another church to continue offending

I couldn't agree with you more. the Church failed to act properly.

Your priests and Bishops, to the exclusion of all others, are dispensers of the sacraments, which are normally necessary for salvation/theosis

You really need to look up these topics, FK, because you don't seem to grasp that sacraments are not some magic and that the priests are not magi and sorcerers. This is what the Orthodox Church says about sacraments:

In other words, the bishop/priest leads the community in prayer asking the HS to come and affect a change in us or in bread and wine, etc., that is: to change our hearts, to cleanse, spiritually the soul. God saves. Not the priests.

Just as once baptized always baptized, the same goes for an ordained priest, no matter what personality deficiencies he may develop.

The Latins believe that salvation itself can be renounced through conduct, so for them, apparently a lost person, doomed for hell

No different from us. We can reject God at any time. God will not force Himself on anyone who doesn't want Him.

I KNOW the clergy are indispensable for the Latins, but I am not certain about the Orthodox

Of course they are. Lay people cannot dispense mysteria (sacraments). To bind and to loosen, an ordained priest is rrequired.

16,164 posted on 07/16/2007 10:55:01 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Why should God engage us? Using Reformed logic to which you subscribe, God has no reason to engage us.

Because we Reformers believe that it is ultimately God who does everything, without our cooperation. So, if God does not engage us, then there can be no salvation. God predestines everything, but He still has to carry it out within time. Hence, sometimes it is problematic to talk about "when" we are saved.

16,165 posted on 07/17/2007 6:57:10 AM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
He does call on all His children not to return evil for evil.

As Ping was alluding to, we have to be careful how we define "evil". If you walked passed an alley and saw a woman being raped, would the Godly thing to do be to continue walking, or would it be to do the "evil" of assaulting the attacker? We also have this:

John 15:12-13 : 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I think our soldiers and Marines do that for us every day.

So, how do we explain such language [i.e. "the Kingdom of God is at hand"] and such teaching of the apostles and early Christians? In either case it doesn't look good for those who claim to have known the scripture or the word of God.

It is there in scripture, we just have to find it. I don't think when they said "the Kingdom of God" they were referring to a place called Heaven. Half of the parables start with something like "The Kingdom of God is like ...". The descriptions are not of things that are happening in Heaven, they are of things that happen on earth. I found a few views that said that the Kingdom refers to either believing in God, or agreeing to follow His laws in belief. That would seem to fit with the parables, and certainly with this:

Mark 12:34 : 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

I think it's pretty easy to conclude that Jesus was not referring to the man's imminent demise. :) Rather, He was telling him that he was getting closer to having true faith.

Also, John did not write the deuterocanonical epistles, or the Revelation.

I know that some have questions about it, but how do you KNOW that he didn't write them? The author of Revelation is clearly John "somebody".

16,166 posted on 07/17/2007 8:33:20 AM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; Forest Keeper
"Revenge is His and He wants us to send them on their way to Him"......That is as un-Christian as it gets. It may be what the Jews and Muslims believe, but that's not what Christ teaches.

His revenge is spiritual. That doesn't mean He can't send an earthquake, tsunami, tornado or hurricane if He wants to. It doesn't mean He can't send plagues, disease, pestilence, etc. but not everyone would ever be certain those events are from God. They will be certain when they stand before Him - then His revenge will be understood.

Until that time it is up to us, as Christians, to follow His commandments and conduct ourselves properly. Our lives should be an example to others BUT when evil comes around we MUST stop it. It is our Christian duty to keep it from harming others.

There are rules to live this life by, not only as a Christian, but as a human being. When those rules are boken consequences must be paid. I don't call those consequences vengeance. If I speed while driving down the interstate would it be vengeance for the trooper to give me a ticket? If I murdered someone, is it vengeance to be sent to the electric chair? No to both, it is a consequence of my actions which I freely took.

The vengeance for the choices I made and did not repent of belong to God.

Resisting by returning evil with evil is not the same as stopping someone from committing evil again. Remember, we need to look at our enemies as potentially salvagable souls. The aim should never be to destroy but to save if possible.

"Save If Possible" is the key phrase. It will never be possible, while in our earthly bodies, for all souls to be salvaged.

Rom.12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

I agree partially with you (and the scriptures)in that we should do whatever we can to change our enemy, which includes being kind and "feeding and if he thirst, give him drink". So I will be kind and feed him with truth and the living water of Christ but if he chooses not to listen then it "is not possible to live peaceably with them".

Rom.12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

There have been and will be times that the only way to not become overcome with evil is to stop it by sending that evil to God, as He instructed. Vengeance is His.

16,167 posted on 07/17/2007 8:57:50 AM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
FK: "The consideration is on whether in earthly matters God is either a director or merely an observer."

If God's plan is perfect it needs no adjusting. It is playing itself out exactly the way God wanted. It only appears to us (your famous POV approach) that for some things God intervenes and in some cases He doesn't. I think that would reflect Reformed theology accurately.

God's plan is perfect and needs no adjusting, as you said. But, it still has to be carried out within time. When I'm born, I have no inclination to come to God at all, indeed I cannot. Therefore, if part of God's plan is that I come to Him. then He MUST act within time during my lifetime. He did act by changing my heart after I was born. And you are right, this is from the human POV. :)From God's POV one could say that everything is already "done". However, from God's POV we can't even talk about the director/observer issue because time is required to do either.

And allowing your children to be tempted, knowing they will sin and die is love?

God loves HIS children, not the lost.

Allowing evil is love?

Sure. Without evil, how would I recognize my need for Him?

Then sacrificing your own Son to fulfill the "divine justice" is love?

It's the greatest act of love in the history of creation, and goes right with the quote from my last post [John 15:13].

Why not make it perfect the first time and never have to "fix" it? It seems there have been constant "patch-up" jobs throughout the Bible.

God DID make it perfect the first time. I am certainly a better Christian today for having known of the mistakes of those who went before me. The "patch-up" jobs were planned changes in course, not corrections. I agree with the Orthodox Church, which says that God is unchanging.

God is perfect and what He does is perfect. He cannot be but perfect and His work cannot be but perfect. His creation is therefore perfect and His plan is playing itself out perfectly without any need for correction or adjustment or replacement or plan B, right?

Right.

How do you explain interventions when the Plan is perfect unless you admit that God intentionally created evil and allowed it to disturb His perfect plan so that He has something to do.

I don't know what you mean by "interventions". God is always intervening in the implementation of His plan. We are all born dead in sin. If He did not intervene, then all would perish. ...... God did not create evil, but He allowed it to form as part of His plan. Evil does not disturb God's plan, it is part of it.

He could have just created Adam and Eve without having them fall and they would have been perfect and their offspring would be in heaven without all the bloodshed and suffering and pain and injustice and poverty and hunger, dying etc.

That's exactly right, He could have. But for His own reasons, which I am not privy to, He decided not to.

And creating a Paradise and putting a man and a woman in it and telling them "be fruitful and multiply" while knowing they will commit a sin because of a temptation He placed in the Garden and having decided before they were born that they will disobey Him and be cursed and become corrupt, is love? Strange love it is!

All those in Heaven and destined to go there can thank God for exactly that kind of love. :)

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe they were right and you are wrong?

Sure it has, that would only be fair. But, then I get over it. :) Plus, of course they were not wrong about everything. In fact, they got the most important stuff right.

You (plural you) are "legitimate" Christians; your assemblies are not "legitimate" churches, by definition. There is a difference. The Pope is not expressing his personal "opinion," but a historical fact. The Church was defined before any of you (plural) existed. That definition came from the authority given to the ordained priesthood by the Savior and their successors ever since, in an unbroken lineage.

I understand what you're saying and try not to take the Pope's remarks personally. However, he appears to have changed the definition from how Jesus used it. When Jesus says my "Church" in Matt. 16:18, this is Strong's:

NT:1577 ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah); from a compound of NT:1537 and a derivative of NT:2564; a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): KJV - assembly, church.

So, I suppose I can take solace in that as Jesus used the word, we are included. :)

Remember that Reformation started over abuses and not theology.

Well, they go together. Bad practices came from bad theology. Luther's Theses were full of theological disagreements.

16,168 posted on 07/17/2007 10:59:13 AM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; kosta50; Diego1618
Kosta said: He could have just created Adam and Eve without having them fall and they would have been perfect and their offspring would be in heaven without all the bloodshed and suffering and pain and injustice and poverty and hunger, dying etc.

Forest Keeper said: That's exactly right, He could have. But for His own reasons, which I am not privy to, He decided not to.

Kosta said: And creating a Paradise and putting a man and a woman in it and telling them "be fruitful and multiply" while knowing they will commit a sin because of a temptation He placed in the Garden and having decided before they were born that they will disobey Him and be cursed and become corrupt, is love? Strange love it is!

This age, our time on earth, is to see who we will follow. Adam and Eve were to be fruitful and multiply so all the souls could be born during this age. He did place the "serpent" there but it is our choice to disobey, be cursed and become corrupt just as it is our choice to follow Him. He wants to see who is worthy to spend eternity with Him. I don't think that is strange at all.

He didn't "have" Adam and Eve fall. He warned them and they made a choice. He gives all of us that choice and the wheat will be separated from the chaff. In His infinite grace He saw how very weak we are and made it even easier for us. He sent Christ. We only need to believe and repent. That is love.

I believe the Bible tells us that there was an age before this one. That was the time Satan rebelled and took many of God's children with him. This age is a chance for us to make the right decision but many won't. The time that Kosta speaks of, a time of peace, no death, no disease, no hunger, is prepared for us too. We must be found worthy to be part of it.

16,169 posted on 07/17/2007 11:52:05 AM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
So, while He is obviously preaching to the people and healing, He was preaching the Tanakh, reading the scrolls in the synagogues and quoting the prophets and Psalms while revealing the secrets of the Kingdom of God only to His disciples. Two different things.

The only reasonable assumption is that He was preaching NT Christianity to the crowds. That's all He ever preached during His ministry of about three years. However, I have no problem with the idea that the Apostles got special training and were given deeper insights than those in the crowds. Christ gave the Apostles more, and from them more was expected.

16,170 posted on 07/17/2007 12:20:38 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Ping-Pong; Forest Keeper
Apostle Paul: Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God -- Rom 12:9

First, let us define the terms revenge and vengeance.

Revenge comes from the Latin word vindicarepunishment.

Vengeance  is the infliction of injury, humiliation, punishment

If God is vengeful, then He is vindictive. The Christian God is the opposite of that: forgiving, merciful.

Hence, any suggestion that God exacts vengeance or revenge is the opposite of a merciful and forgiving God revealed in Jesus Christ, who came to save the unrighteous.

The punishment, (vengeance) is inflicted by our own disobedience and rejection of His blessings. We condemn ourselves.

Not according to the OT or the Book of Revelation.

God is Life. There is no room for death in that which is Life. God creates. He doesn't destroy. God offers, freely, and without any bias, for that is what love is. He doesn't take. He needs nothing, so why would He take?

Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornado, etc. kill and are a result of a fallen world, as the fall of Adam and Eve not only changed human nature (became mortal) but corrupted the entire Creation.

How could you love a tyrant who creates and destroys, who wants 'respect,' who wants to be admired, worshipped, glorified, who is vain and selfish, and moody? Unfortunately, that is the God of the West. being 'saved' to the western ears means being saved from God. That is so pathetic and a distortion of the faith He proclaimed.

Let them worry about their deeds for which they will be judged. Tsunamis and tornadoes, most people can't take credit for them.

I couldn't agree more, :)  as long as we understand that 'stopping' evil is not accomplished by doing evil

Yes. It is a punishment, isn't it? But consider your example: you are comparing a policeman with God. Actually, the policeman is a public servant, doing his job; God is your Father. That is the juridical basis of religion in the West, especially following St. Anselm's (11th c.) idea of atonement. Sin is equivalent to breaking the law. But in the East, no doubt influenced by the Greek word for 'sin' (hamartia), sin is considered "missing the mark," 'committing a mistake," not breaking the law. Christ is the mark, not being Christ-like.

The story of the Prodigal Son is the correct relationship between us sinners and our father in heaven. We are forgiven, but we must have a change in our hearts (repentance, metanoia) and do everything to "sin no more."  But if we don't repent, we condemn ourselves. God does nothing of the sort.

Actually they don't. They belong to satan. Because by being unrepentant, you serve him as your master.

No, but we must honestly try even if we honestly fail. If our intentions are pure, God will grant our prayers. But, we are like Peter walking on water, a little here and a little there, and sinking most of the time.

We should do everything to stop him without resorting to that which is evil. And that which is evil is destroying. If you love someone you do not destroy him, even if he commits evil.  Stop him, yes, destroy him, no. We do not destroy what we love.

Our enemies are often our best advocates. Here is part of a prayer by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, a 20th century martyr who was sainted in the Serbian Orthodox Church. The prayer is called "Bless my Enemies, O Lord."

Note: Bp. Nikolai Velimirovich was a Serbian bishop in the last century who spoke out courageously against Nazism until he was arrested and taken to Dachau.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.

They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.

They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.

They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.

They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish...

That supports what I have been saying all along and how the earliest Church understood our relationship with evil: overcoming it with good, never with evil.

16,171 posted on 07/17/2007 12:51:20 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
[Christ] is not telling ordinary people to read the Scripture.

He absolutely IS telling all of us to read the scripture. Do you really think Christ does not want us to read scripture? I ask myself why anyone would want to erect such a wall between Christ and His children in the laity. The answer is clear. Men of the Church need power, so they make themselves gatekeepers to salvation/theosis. "Christ never said to read His word, trust US only".

FK: "We do believe that the Bible is free from any kind of error."

A cursory study of the Bible reveals that your belief is wrong. The Christian Bible has undergone massive and radical alterations in its ...

I meant the original drafts of the original completed works, sans any minor errors that have crept in due to translation, etc. I still think we have almost ALL of the substance of the original Bible and that all of its teachings are 100% correct.

16,172 posted on 07/17/2007 1:46:20 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
He absolutely IS telling all of us to read the scripture. Do you really think Christ does not want us to read scripture?

If He did, it's not in Bible. But you will find a pageful of references about hearing and believing.

Take for instance

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? -- Rom 10:14

or

He said to them, " Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." -- Act 19:2

or

and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world." -- John 4:42

or

Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved -- Luk 8:12

Men of the Church need power, so they make themselves gatekeepers to salvation/theosis

LOL!!! That's pathetic. You really have a thing about clergy. It reminds me of that move the "Sand Lot" and a "beast" that eats children fro breakfast. In fear, eyes are really big, FK. You need to make friends with a priest and discover how wrong you are about mopst of them.

Most people have no clue what they are reading when they read the Bible. It's like reading any technical book. You understand the words but not the concepts. I can't spend the night at Holiday Inn and pretend I am a lawyer!

Some legal concepts are 'logical' and "obvious," but others are based on precedents (in our case Concensus Patrum, Bible, Liturgy), that are not so clear-cut.

Anyway, Christ did preach to the Masses, but He preached the Old Testament. He read aloud from it in synagogues. But He never said to anyone "read the Bible." And He never said "write the Bible."  

 

16,173 posted on 07/17/2007 3:41:00 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
Surely you don't suggest the Jews were "true" believers before Christ? Surely you don't suggest the Jews had fullness of God's revelation!

The OT righteous WERE true believers and looked forward to the coming of Jesus. They were part of God's invisible Church, which has always been the community of all believers, living, dead, or not yet born. God's visible Church consists of those professing a belief in Christ, but who are not necessarily believers. I do not think God's Church started in 33 AD. God's visible Church, however, did undergo a radical change of focus at that time, and Christ was the chief cornerstone. Now, these are not two Churches, they are different aspects of the same Church.

If it were, then what was Christ doing building His Church on the rock of faith given to Peter?

Christ was building upon God's already existing Church, of which He was always the cornerstone. The radical change of focus, the rock, was all Christ.

Oh, I see. First the Bible does not teach that some sins are worst then others. It says that there is only one sin for which there can be no absolution -- blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. No reason is given for this.

All sin is sin in terms of that it equals death (Rom. 6:23). However, we are also told implicitly that some sins are worse than others, further implying different "levels of hell". The OT is full of penalties for sin that vary all over the place. Why is that? Because some sin is worse than others in terms of how it affects others. Taking drugs oneself is a certain kind of sin, but pushing them on children I think is much worse. I think this is the kind of thing Jesus is talking about. Just as extra awards are given to us in Heaven for our actions, so also are extra curses given to those going to hell for their actions.

Do not feel yourself "worthy" of God's mercy just because you have sinned "less" in your eyes the the clergy you loathe.

Ordinarily it wouldn't occur to me to compare myself to anyone, but I was answering YOUR challenge. :) It is my side that says we are not worthy based on our deeds. Yours is the one that says it is a component. And no, I don't loathe the Apostolic clergy, I loathe what some of them have done, and I see it as evidence that Apostolic succession is not real.

And what master do we follow?

I specifically indicated that I was talking ONLY of those offenders within the context of our conversation. The Apostolic Church is filled to a significantly great extent with Christians who follow Christ.

How many priests are involved? One thousand, ten thousand? Ten thousand is 0.0006% for 1.5 billion (1,500,000,000) people. That would leave 99.999% of the priests serving God.

Actually, that's fuzzy math. :) You are mixing priests with the laity. I'm sure the laity has its share of pedophiles too, as does the SBC, but that's not what we're counting here, only priests. In another post, I gave you the ballpark number of priests at 500,000.

Clinton lied under oath and should have been in a slammer for 30 years because that's what we ordinary "mortals" get and what the law calls for.

AMEN!

And how is Clinton's lying any different than the one who lied us into a war in Iraq while pursuing agendas of dubious national interest instead of going after the guy who is responsible for the 9/11?

Now wait a minute. :) Bush DID immediately go after OBL, and someone, I don't know who, made a terrible mistake at Tora Bora (sp?). IF OBL is still alive, and I have no confidence that he is, he is no longer anywhere near the threat he once was. ...... To the first point, what lies do you think that Bush told to get us into Iraq? A lie means the person knows what he is speaking is not the truth, a la Clinton. What did Bush know that he lied about, and how do YOU know that?

I believe in dungeons, a place no one would ever want to come back to.

I'm with you there, brother. :)

16,174 posted on 07/17/2007 4:18:54 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
God gives blessings to the righteous and unrighteous without prejudice or partiality.

God gives blessings like sunlight to everyone, but He does not give everyone the blessing of the ability to lead a church, for example.

If all the people renounced evil, evil would disappear.

Sure, but first God would have to enable all to make renunciation possible. Right now, the lost have no such capacity.

Where else would evil come from if not from our rejection of God?

I believe satan is an independent source of evil that manifests, in part, with his specific temptations of us. He will also generate independent evil during the end times.

As far as temptation is concerned : "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust" (James 1:14)

This is out of the order of your post, but... Anyway, it is true that temptation cannot bear any "fruit" in the negative sense without the cooperation of sinful man. However, it is clear from scripture that satan independently tempts. We have the garden, Jesus in the desert, and the command to put on the "armor of God" (spiritual warfare).

16,175 posted on 07/17/2007 5:08:47 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
We can follow God or we can reject Him. What matters is not what we preach, but what we practice. Now that we know the good and evil, we have a choice. Evil can be eradicated in one day. God's prosecutor general could be out of his job for good.

What we preach absolutely matters, since Jesus warned us against false preachers. What you're talking about is the "total depravity" vs. "only wounded" debate. If men truly have the power, by themselves, to simply decide against evil, then what need have we of God, let's say after baptism? We appear to have all the tools already, according to what you said. All we need to do after baptism is decide not to sin. Is that right?

16,176 posted on 07/17/2007 5:44:24 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "But if all the people on earth were like Ghandi there would be no Christians."

Yeah, who'd want a peaceful world free of evil if it were not Christian?

But of course it would NOT be free from evil. You are only judging on outward appearances. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? :) By a definition I think you and I would agree on, Ghandi was an UNREPENTANT SINNER. Now imagine a world filled with those to the rim. Would you really want to live in that over the long haul? Not me.

16,177 posted on 07/17/2007 6:05:58 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Look, in my post 16157 ...

No problem. I hadn't seen this until after I posted my response to the other post, so nevermind my response, too. :)

I am sorry, I just don't see that to be a number that makes the Catholic Church nearly as bad as some are trying to make.

OK, and I feel no need to pig pile on this. I made my points. My issue is just as much with their hierarchy as with the underlying conduct. I honestly pray for them and that their structure and/or policies will be changed such that this can never happen again.

16,178 posted on 07/17/2007 6:30:57 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "Your priests and Bishops, to the exclusion of all others, are dispensers of the sacraments, which are normally necessary for salvation/theosis."

You really need to look up these topics, FK, because you don't seem to grasp that sacraments are not some magic and that the priests are not magi and sorcerers. This is what the Orthodox Church says about sacraments:

Then perhaps I am mixing you up with the Latins. I know with absolute certainty that I have been told, by MULTIPLE Latin posters, that under normal circumstances, a person who dies without confessing his sins to a priest is doomed to hell, just because of that. In addition, the Catechism seems to indicate some magic going on, giving priests the power to save and unsave:

1445 The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

Do you agree with this? I would think that anyone who is not in communion with God is doomed. This is direct evidence that priests DO claim power to save and unsave, and that the sacraments are critical to salvation, at least for the Latins. Plus, I know I have had the "salvation by ritual" argument before and nobody said then that the ritual did not confer salvation.

FK: "I KNOW the clergy are indispensable for the Latins, but I am not certain about the Orthodox."

Of course they are. Lay people cannot dispense mysteria (sacraments). To bind and to loosen, an ordained priest is required.

See above.

16,179 posted on 07/17/2007 7:17:55 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Ping-Pong; kosta50; Diego1618; .30Carbine
He did place the "serpent" there but it is our choice to disobey, be cursed and become corrupt just as it is our choice to follow Him. He wants to see who is worthy to spend eternity with Him.

The Reformed position is that indeed, Adam and Eve did choose to disobey. And, that since God knew that would happen when He allowed the serpent in, that this was a part of God's plan. Further, we would say that our choice to follow Him is caused and energized by the work of the Holy Spirit in changing the heart of the new believer. All the credit goes to God. Finally, we would say that since God is fully sovereign and omniscient, and predestines all of His elect from before creation, that He would already know who will come to Him within time.

He didn't "have" Adam and Eve fall.

That's right, He did not "zap" them with sin to cause their choice. He did set the conditions, knowing the result.

The time that Kosta speaks of, a time of peace, no death, no disease, no hunger, is prepared for us too. We must be found worthy to be part of it.

Amen! I'm looking forward to it. :)

16,180 posted on 07/17/2007 8:46:51 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
If He did, it's not in Bible. But you will find a pageful of references about hearing and believing.

Hearing is the same as reading, as long as it is not corrupted by a third party intermediary. :) I believe the Apostles taught orally exactly what they wrote.

You really have a thing about clergy.

I am trying to figure a reason for them to teach what is against scripture on a wide range of issues. I know that clergy are fallible and that power corrupts. At least the Latin clergy also claims absolute power (one of the reasons for the Great Schism). Men who have power almost always seek more power. That widespread corruption has been rampant in the Latin Church throughout history is inarguable. So, this is one explanation that would fit. I recognize their humanity and what could happen to anyone who was taught that he had so much more power than he actually had.

Most people have no clue what they are reading when they read the Bible.

I don't agree. While complex doctrines need teachers, fundamentals and elementary concepts are able to be grasped by the average person, at least OUR elementary concepts. :)

16,181 posted on 07/17/2007 11:08:20 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Ping-Pong; Forest Keeper
Perhaps when an "evil" has been, or is being, done it is not considered evil to stop it or keep whoever from doing it again

I agree.

To me the evil would be to allow it to continue, as in the instance of a rapist, a child molestor, a murderer, a terrorist bomber, etc.

Again, we agree.  :)

If it was a perfect world I would agree with you Kosta but it is not and if we all laid down our lives for these evil doers it would be even less of a perfect world

Well, then all the Chrisians dying in arenas and in various progroms was for nothing. Yet, history tells us that it was their martyrdom that actually gave Christianity the strength it needed and the respect it deserved.

16,182 posted on 07/18/2007 7:55:52 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
The OT righteous WERE true believers and looked forward to the coming of Jesus. They were part of God's invisible Church, which has always been the community of all believers, living, dead, or not yet born

I have two problems with this: (a) their revelation was not full and (b)  you told me that God doesn't have a special place for Ghandi because he was not a Christian (and a lawyer at that!).

We could just as easily argue then that present-day pious Jews are part of the "invisible" Church. Christ makes it very plain that he is establishing His Church, and there is no doubt that this church did not exist in the "invisible" form.

Christ was building upon God's already existing Church

That's not what He says in the scriptures.

All sin is sin in terms of that it equals death (Rom. 6:23). However, we are also told implicitly that some sins are worse than others, further implying different "levels of hell"

We will all be judged according to our deeds, and the level of discomfort or bliss may be reflected how distant or close we are from God, but James seems to suggest no such thing. He is stating very clearly that one transgression makes you guilty, an either-or condition.

The OT is full of penalties for sin that vary all over the place

The NT says you break one and you have broken all. I am a Christian and I go with the NT.

Taking drugs oneself is a certain kind of sin, but pushing them on children I think is much worse

In human justice, absolutely.  Ours is not to judge but to be judged.

Just as extra awards are given to us in Heaven for our actions, so also are extra curses given to those going to hell for their actions

Where does it say that? First of all, the OT  has no such concept. Second, it appears only three times in the NT. And, third, you can lose your rewards for something as little as vanity!

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven" -- Mat 6:1

or being rich (cf Luke 6:22-24). I wouldn't pretend to know how God thinks and suggest to know His ways.

It is my side that says we are not worthy based on our deeds. Yours is the one that says it is a component

I think your memory is failing, FK. In the past this was clearly explained to you and your statement is clearly wrong (again). We do not believe we "merit" salvation. We do believe we will be judged based on our deeds (not rewarded, judged, pardoned or convicted and sentenced).

16,183 posted on 07/18/2007 8:41:59 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
Actually, that's fuzzy math

I know, I goofed,. You are too kind. I am very humbled.

To the first point, what lies do you think that Bush told to get us into Iraq?

At the risk of turning this into a political forum )which i have no desire to do whatsoever), lest's start with WMDs and the airytale that somehow Al Qaida and Saddam had this close working relationship and that iraq was an imminent danger to the U.S. You can comment if you will, but i will leave it at these two beginning facts.

16,184 posted on 07/18/2007 8:47:29 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
God gives blessings like sunlight to everyone, but He does not give everyone the blessing of the ability to lead a church, for example

I agree. Some are called to be apostles, some prophets, others teachers, and so on. Christ called on those with whom he would established the leadership of His Church, and gave them the keys to bind and loosen, and they bound and loosened by giving those keys to their successors in an unbroken succession, and we know that what they bind and loosen will be bound and loosened in heaven because God promised so.

Sure, but first God would have to enable all to make renunciation possible

He did by dying on the Cross.

I believe satan is an independent source of evil

And where does his "existence" come from? God? God did not create evil. Evil is rejection of God (death because God is life), whether it is from a fallen angel or from man. In either case, evil gets its "life" from the one who rejects God.

He will also generate independent evil during the end times

Nothing is "independent" from God. God is sovereign. The "independence" of evil means keeping one's head in the sand and pretending sun doesn't shine. It's a pretense, not reality. It's deception.

However, it is clear from scripture that satan independently tempts. We have the garden, Jesus in the desert, and the command to put on the "armor of God" (spiritual warfare)

None of those situations, like the Book of Job, is "independent" of God. You know I consider them mythology with a true and inerrant message, but even as a myth they leave no doubt that nothing is ever independent of God. Those things happened because God willed them.

The idea that we are "at war" and that satan is somehow capable of fighting God is Zoroastrianism (based ion divine dualism), which crept into some aspects of Judaism during Babylonian captivity and through it into Christianity's apocalyptic beginnings .

The coinage "armor of God" is solely Paulean, and he was without any doubt an apocalyptic Jew.

16,185 posted on 07/18/2007 9:14:08 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
What we preach absolutely matters, since Jesus warned us against false preachers

What good is preaching if you don't live as you preach we should? You cold be preaching Gospel as accurately as ever, and living a life of abomination. IOW, it is not the message that we preach that is necessarily false; but what we practice. But the reverse cannot be true. One cannot live a life of a saint and preach false Gospel. So, practice what you preach; back up your words of faith with deeds. Which is what St. James tells us when he says that faith without works is dead.

If men truly have the power, by themselves, to simply decide against evil, then what need have we of God, let's say after baptism?

We do have the power to "just say NO!" by the grace of the Holy Spirit and not all on our own. Those who are baptized are equipped to resist because of the faith. We do not believe that we can make it all on our own just because we no longer wish to sin. We need God's loving corrections to keep us straight and narrow and to give us strength when we seem to waiver in faith.

All we need to do after baptism is decide not to sin. Is that right?

In prayer and supplication to God, correct. The "Jesus Prayer" is our daily spiritual staple...with some people unceasing, because we Orthodox say that those who pray are not sinning. So, the more we pray the less we sin...by choice. :)

16,186 posted on 07/18/2007 9:30:01 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
But of course it would NOT be free from evil. You are only judging on outward appearances. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

The heart of Ghandi seemed pretty cleansed of all evil, pride and arrogance, or love for the world. He was full of compassion and humility. I said, "if all people on earth were like Ghandi..." and I am sure it would be a wrold where people would not be in fear of each other, or selfish or violent (I guess it would be "boring" by some standards).

By a definition I think you and I would agree on, Ghandi was an UNREPENTANT SINNER

 How do you know he was unrepentant?

16,187 posted on 07/18/2007 9:39:14 PM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
I have been told, by MULTIPLE Latin posters, that under normal circumstances, a person who dies without confessing his sins to a priest is doomed to hell

First, you don't confess to the priest, you confess to God with the priest (who is a Christian sinner you can trust) as your witness. Christ reminds us that loving those who love you is no special feat, and thus confessing your sins to God who already knows them is no special feat either. Confessing your sins to God in front of a witness shows resoluteness, contrition, courage and desire to repent.

That's why early Christians used to confess publicly before the whole congregation, as their witnesses. This practice changed when catechumens and visitors began to attend.

Second, we believe, based on scriptural teaching, that a person who dies without repentance  does go to hell (it's not enough to just admit the sins, but to repent of them as well in order to re-establish communion with God which was broken through sin).

I guess you have an issue with the "ritual" of absolution pronounced by the priests. That is part of the "keys" they were given. God promised that what they bind and loosen on earth will be bound and loosened in heaven.

If God gives you a priest to confess to, and repent of your sins in your dying moments, then refusing this gift, and opportunity, God gives you is a sin in itself.  Rejecting God's loving offer, separating oneself from Him on our last breath, and dying separated from God by one's own choice, pride and arrogance, is a certain ticket to hell and eternal death.

[Rom Cath. Catechism] 1445 "The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God..." Do you agree with this? I would think that anyone who is not in communion with God is doomed. This is direct evidence that priests DO claim power to save and unsaved, and that the sacraments are critical to salvation, at least for the Latins

But this is not something arbitrary as you think. A priest has no choice, but to pray for your absolution. A sacrament is a priest's prayer for the Holy Spirit to come and affect the change (of heart, of our souls, to purify, etc.); it's not an ax in the hands of a priest.

As I said, part of confession is saying that you repent of all your sins in your heart. In fact, the priest will ask you specifically "do you repent of all your sins?" Without those words, the priest cannot ask the Holy Spirit for your absolution, nor can the priest be assured that his prayer for your absolution will be licit.

Now, you can lie to the priest and God knows it, so even though the priest pronounces your absolution in good faith it will be null and void because your insincerity is an sin in itself. So, just as St. James tells us, breaking one law breaks them all.

Even if your refuse to repent, the priest cannot in good faith give you absolution, but he is still obligated to pray for you and beseech God for mercy on your unrepentant soul. Doing otherwise would be bringing condemnation on himself by the sin of judgment.

Hypothetically, if a priest refuses to grant absolution in good faith, because he is "mean," or whatever, God knows that, and his misuse of the "keys" will be to his condemnation, not yours. So, the whole thing is fail-proof.

But all your complaints about this, and calling it "rituals" comes from your denial of the apostolic "keys" -- which, from the Protestant point of view -- is an essential denial, for obvious reasons. But, the scriptures tell us that priests were always specially chosen by God, and history shows that apostolic succession is a verifiable fact.

16,188 posted on 07/19/2007 6:20:17 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; Ping-Pong; Diego1618; .30Carbine
The Reformed position is that indeed, Adam and Eve did choose to disobey. And, that since God knew that would happen when He allowed the serpent in, that this was a part of God's plan

Then we can't speak of Adam and Eve's "choice." If the Bible were a movie scripted by God, then the "decisions" of the actors would never be taken as truly their decisions, but as decisions made by the author.  In other words, they were destined to sin, because God willed it.

God, however, gave man limited freedom to make his own decisions and suffer his own consequences for them. Furthermore, to love truly is to love freely, and to love freely one must be free and not bound by prescripted outcome.

This doesn't take away from God's sovereignty, ominoptence or omniscience, in any way, because human freedom, as well as His blessings, are granted freely by God.

Further, we would say that our choice to follow Him is caused and energized by the work of the Holy Spirit in changing the heart of the new believer

It is aided, or facilitated by the Holy Spirit to those who have been baptized, who in pure desire wish to follow God, but the journey is still ours and we bear responsibility for our conduct, confession and repentance to the last moment in co-operation with God.

All the credit goes to God

It does, because He is the one who made all this possible. He is the maker of everything and all that we have, and that is.

Finally, we would say that since God is fully sovereign and omniscient, and predestines all of His elect from before creation, that He would already know who will come to Him within time

Correct.

Ping-Pong: He didn't "have" Adam and Eve fall.

FK: That's right, He did not "zap" them with sin to cause their choice. He did set the conditions, knowing the result.

In the Reformed view, He mostly certainly did "have" them fall. Not falling was never an option in that theology. And, no God didn't "zap" Adam and Eve with sin to cause their choice, it was their choice that caused their sin. 

The Reformed must admit that Adam and Eve's "choice" was inevitable because it was part of God's plan. So, as far as our Calivinist-adhering protestant/Baptist friends are concerned, God did very much "have" them fall.

Ping-Pong: The time that Kosta speaks of, a time of peace, no death, no disease, no hunger, is prepared for us too. We must be found worthy to be part of it

FK: Amen! I'm looking forward to it

We are never "worthy" of God's mercy. Believing that we "must be found worthy" is a sure way of not being pardoned. Lay off the OT; it lacks much of the humility Christ preached.

16,189 posted on 07/19/2007 6:51:42 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: Forest Keeper; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
Hearing is the same as reading, as long as it is not corrupted by a third party intermediary

Writeen word is never the same as spoken word, lacking intonations and visual and autority nuances. It can enver fully transmit the effect of the spoken word. Likewise, the spoken word may be overheard and without being able to check it again, it may lead to a false conclusion. The best way is for the written word to be read correctly, which is why the Gospel readings in the church are done only by priest, as they are trained to read correctly, and comment on them as perconcensus of the Church. 

At no time in the Bible was left up tom the untrained and unschooled to read the scrolls.

That widespread corruption has been rampant in the Latin Church throughout history is inarguable. So, this is one explanation that would fit. I recognize their humanity and what could happen to anyone who was taught that he had so much more power than he actually had

And how is this different from others? The difference is that priests have the "keys." How widespread is their corruption, FK? and how does it compare to other professions that are bound by the laws of ethics?

16,190 posted on 07/19/2007 7:24:51 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
FK: "The OT righteous WERE true believers and looked forward to the coming of Jesus. They were part of God's invisible Church, which has always been the community of all believers, living, dead, or not yet born."

I have two problems with this: (a) their revelation was not full and (b) you told me that God doesn't have a special place for Ghandi because he was not a Christian (and a lawyer at that!).

Their revelation was not as full as ours is, but it was "enough" to correctly believe in the one true God. If it was not, then no one from the OT is in Heaven. They didn't get a free pass. The way to Heaven for them was the same as it is for us, grace through faith. ...... Ghandi did not have faith like the OT righteous did, and did not believe in the one true God.

We could just as easily argue then that present-day pious Jews are part of the "invisible" Church.

They deny Christ just like Ghandi did. Therefore, they're out.

[James] is stating very clearly that one transgression makes you guilty, an either-or condition.

James is correct. He simply makes no comment one way of the other about what I am saying. IOW, one sin shuts us out of Heaven. After that, among all the disqualifying sins, some are worse than others. Think of it as the counterpart to the comparative hierarchy of righteousness we are told about. We know that the righteous acts of martyrs are "higher", we have the two greatest Commandments, we are told that in certain circumstances treating an enemy with kindness is harder, and presumably "more" righteous, than treating a friend the same, etc.

FK: "Just as extra awards are given to us in Heaven for our actions, so also are extra curses given to those going to hell for their actions."

Where does it say that?

I don't know if it is a slam dunk, but there is this:

Rev 20:12-13 : 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

Maybe Ping can help me with this, but it seems to me that everyone going into this judgment was already doomed. Therefore, we can reasonably ask what the purpose was for the judgment. One answer would be to discern different punishments in hell, over and above just being there. If both are in hell, it would seem very odd to me if Ghandi and Hitler are going through the same experience. :)

And, third, you can lose your rewards for something as little as vanity!

Your references, (Mat 6:1, Luke 6:22-24, and I'm sure there are others of the same kind), apply to the extra rewards we receive, at a separate judgment, not to salvation itself.

We do not believe we "merit" salvation. We do believe we will be judged based on our deeds (not rewarded, judged, pardoned or convicted and sentenced).

I don't understand your distinction. If you believe that you will go to Heaven or hell based partly on your deeds, then what I said is correct. "Worthy", in this case, means worthy of Heaven.

16,191 posted on 07/19/2007 11:01:12 AM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; .30Carbine
FK: "To the first point, what lies do you think that Bush told to get us into Iraq?"

At the risk of turning this into a political forum (which I have no desire to do whatsoever), let's start with WMDs and the fairytale that somehow Al Qaida and Saddam had this close working relationship and that Iraq was an imminent danger to the U.S. You can comment if you will, but I will leave it at these two beginning facts.

Since when do I not comment! :) Suffice it to say that one can say Bush was wrong about WMD's but he did not lie. If he did know there were none, then he was the only one in the civilized world that did. His own CIA said it was a "slam dunk". British intelligence, Israel, and other allied countries all said the same thing. Second, Bush never said then, and doesn't say now that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. I don't recall anyone saying that Al Qaida was organized and in Iraq at the time. There was a report that Iraqi intelligence had met with Al Qaida, and it was clear that they had similar goals in hurting America and Israel. They would have been natural partners.

Third, the imminent danger argument was NEVER used by Bush. It was used by Democrats wishing to twist his words. In President Bush's 2003 State of the Union, his exact words were: "Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave and gathering danger.". He never said "imminent". He DID say that the nature of the war was preemptive, and we all assess the wisdom of that now.

I am as frustrated with the mistakes made in this war as anyone else, but I don't think it was brought as a result of lies by Bush. He made a judgment that Iraq was on a path to inevitably BECOME an imminent danger, so he decided to act before that happened.

16,192 posted on 07/19/2007 12:05:14 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; Forest Keeper
Well, then all the Chrisians dying in arenas and in various progroms was for nothing. Yet, history tells us that it was their martyrdom that actually gave Christianity the strength it needed and the respect it deserved.

No, it wasn't for nothing. You have taught me that well Kosta. Their martyrdom did give Christianity strength but we shouldn't all be martyrs. Fighting and/or standing our ground will also give it strength and respect. If we were all martyrs there would be no Christianity. Then who would teach the others?

16,193 posted on 07/19/2007 12:38:14 PM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "Sure, but first God would have to enable all to make renunciation possible."

He did by dying on the Cross.

If so, then the lost don't need any further action by God to come to Him. It is all up to them. Therefore, during our lives, nobody "needs" God to get into Heaven, His work is done and He's out of the picture now in terms of salvation. You are saying that during our lives, after Christ has died on the cross, the whole issue of salvation is COMPLETELY up to us. The Bible certainly does not teach that.

FK: "I believe satan is an independent source of evil."

And where does his "existence" come from? God? God did not create evil. Evil is rejection of God (death because God is life), whether it is from a fallen angel or from man. In either case, evil gets its "life" from the one who rejects God.

I agree. When God created satan, he was not evil, but became evil later on his own. That is his independence.

Nothing is "independent" from God. God is sovereign. The "independence" of evil means keeping one's head in the sand and pretending sun doesn't shine. It's a pretense, not reality. It's deception.

I don't follow. If evil is not independent of God, then it is a part of God. You've never said anything like that before. :)

However, it is clear from scripture that satan independently tempts. We have the garden, Jesus in the desert, and the command to put on the "armor of God" (spiritual warfare)

... You know I consider them mythology with a true and inerrant message, but even as a myth they leave no doubt that nothing is ever independent of God. Those things happened because God willed them.

Jesus in the desert is NT. You think that is myth? The NT confirms it at least twice later on:

Heb 2:18 : 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Heb 4:15 : 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.

James 1:13 tells us that God does not tempt, so that only leaves satan as an independent tempter.

The idea that we are "at war" and that satan is somehow capable of fighting God is Zoroastrianism (based ion divine dualism), which crept into some aspects of Judaism during Babylonian captivity and through it into Christianity's apocalyptic beginnings .

satan is certainly no match for God, but I think Revelation says pretty simply that there IS going to be a battle, and Christ will win.

The coinage "armor of God" is solely Paulean, and he was without any doubt an apocalyptic Jew.

What are you implying? Is it that Paul was wrong and "armor of God" is not how God wants us to think about it?

16,194 posted on 07/19/2007 1:36:15 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
What good is preaching if you don't live as you preach we should? You could be preaching Gospel as accurately as ever, and living a life of abomination. IOW, it is not the message that we preach that is necessarily false; but what we practice.

Certainly, in a one-on-one situation, it damages the witness. However, I don't really think Jesus was focusing on those who preach correct doctrine, but are hypocrites when He warns of false teachers. From afar, many would get the correct message and never know the person was a hypocrite. I don't think that serves anti-Christ's purpose nearly as well as preaching a false doctrine, IN ADDITION TO being a hypocrite. That's what I would be looking for.

But the reverse cannot be true. One cannot live a life of a saint and preach false Gospel.

But isn't that exactly what you think Ghandi did? Ghandi's "gospel" denied Christ.

The "Jesus Prayer" is our daily spiritual staple...with some people unceasing, because we Orthodox say that those who pray are not sinning. So, the more we pray the less we sin...by choice. :)

Sounds like a pretty good plan to me. :)

16,195 posted on 07/19/2007 2:08:40 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
FK: "By a definition I think you and I would agree on, Ghandi was an UNREPENTANT SINNER."

How do you know he was unrepentant?

Since we know that Ghandi never accepted Christ, he never could have asked forgiveness from the one true God. Biblical repentance demands that one understand that he has sinned against the one true God.

16,196 posted on 07/19/2007 2:23:58 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: Forest Keeper; kosta50
Rev 20:12-13 : 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

Maybe Ping can help me with this, but it seems to me that everyone going into this judgment was already doomed. Therefore, we can reasonably ask what the purpose was for the judgment. One answer would be to discern different punishments in hell, over and above just being there. If both are in hell, it would seem very odd to me if Ghandi and Hitler are going through the same experience. :)

I can tell you what I believe the scriptures tell us. There are two judgments. The first, at the beginning of the millennium, is to decide on which side of the gulf you go. If you are "of the first resurrection" you reign with Christ during the millennium. If you are considered one of the "dead" it means you are spiritually dead and your soul is at risk of not living eternally. Those go to the other side and they still have a "mortal" soul. So...I don't think they are "doomed" yet but if they don't make the judgment at the end of the millennium they will be. There they will be judged on their works as it would require no faith to believe in a God that can be seen.

Those will be taught, without the influence of Satan, during the millennium. Remember that at the beginning of the millennium "every knee shall bow", because everyone will KNOW that God is very real, that God is God, not Allah or a Buddah or a stick, etc. but GOD.

Then you have the Ghandi vs. Hitler problem. Are there different levels on that side, as in Paradise Lost? I don't know. I don't believe that side will be filled with torment, at least as we think of it, but rather, the torment of knowing who God is and that He is real but to be separated from Him (as in Lazarus and the rich man). To those that are good but have been misled that would be torture. To the truly evil ones - who knows if they would even care.

They {Jews} deny Christ just like Ghandi did. Therefore, they're out.

At the time of the end, before the 2nd Advent, 144,000 of the tribes of the children of Israel will be sealed (Rev.7:4), with the Word of God. Taking part in that is the destiny of God's elect. Many will accept Christ.

16,197 posted on 07/19/2007 4:27:22 PM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: kosta50; .30Carbine; Ping-Pong
I guess you have an issue with the "ritual" of absolution pronounced by the priests. That is part of the "keys" they were given. God promised that what they bind and loosen on earth will be bound and loosened in heaven.

Yes, that is exactly my issue. One is taught not to rely on scriptures such as:

1 John 1:9-10 - 1 John 2:1 : 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

Note no mention of a priest's absolution. Only God has the power to forgive sin. (Matt. 9:1-8)

P.S. - I hope that Mary did not make God out to be a liar by claiming to have never sinned. :)

If God gives you a priest to confess to, and repent of your sins in your dying moments, then refusing this gift, and opportunity, God gives you is a sin in itself.

You led by telling me that we do not confess to priests. :) If correct, then I would agree that all confessions should be to God. The Bible does say that we should confess our sins to "one another", however, that is not to the exclusion of God. If I sin against a man I should confess to both him AND God. Therefore, the question is on whether there is a requirement to confess through a middleman. Obviously, the Bible says nothing of the sort. If someday I lay dying in a car accident I would take my prayer directly to God. I would not confess to a well-meaning stranger who came by and offered to hear my confession in order to be absolved by HIM, instead of God. Besides, I know that all of my sins have ALREADY been forgiven. :)

Rejecting God's loving offer, separating oneself from Him on our last breath, and dying separated from God by one's own choice, pride and arrogance, is a certain ticket to hell and eternal death.

The separation comes from sticking a priest in between the person and his direct communion with God. You sound like it is IMPROPER to confess directly to God without going through a priest, if one was available.

In addition, your view bolsters my earlier argument that Apostolics believe that priests are indispensable to salvation/theosis. Who else is going to absolve? As you said, without absolution one is doomed. You go on to at least imply that the priest only PRAYS for absolution, but if a priest makes the prayer, then it happens. If the priest refuses, then the person is doomed. That gives all the power to the priest to determine salvation.

A priest has no choice, but to pray for your absolution.

But as you go on to say, he is under no duty to absolve, leaving the person damned for that time. The one scenario you don't cover is what happens when the person honestly IS repentant, but the priest fails to recognize it, IN GOOD FAITH. I could easily see this happening in the case of a substance abuser. Since you believe the power resides in the priest, I assume the person is still damned after this happens. It appears that in order to receive absolution, the job of the sinner is not to convince God, but to convince a priest! :)

16,198 posted on 07/19/2007 5:01:21 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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To: kosta50; Forest Keeper
If God is vengeful, then He is vindictive. The Christian God is the opposite of that: forgiving, merciful....Hence, any suggestion that God exacts vengeance or revenge is the opposite of a merciful and forgiving God revealed in Jesus Christ, who came to save the unrighteous.

He is merciful and forgiving but there are big IF's attached. He is longsuffering but not forever-suffering. If He forgave everything, everytime, of everybody, no matter if they were repentant or not what would be the point? Why send the Son?

The punishment, (vengeance) is inflicted by our own disobedience and rejection of His blessings. We condemn ourselves.

Yes, I agree that we condemn ourselves but that disobedience carries a penalty. He is the judge of that penalty.

"His revenge is spiritual"....Not according to the OT or the Book of Revelation.

It is both but the most serious is the spiritual.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

"That doesn't mean He can't send an earthquake, tsunami, tornado or hurricane if He wants to"......God is Life. There is no room for death in that which is Life. God creates. He doesn't destroy. God offers, freely, and without any bias, for that is what love is. He doesn't take. He needs nothing, so why would He take?

But there is death. There is death of the body and can be death of a soul. He creates and He can destroy. His love, freely offered, must be accepted. Why would He want someone that doesn't love Him? The ministry of Jesus was for us to love one another. Wouldn't part of that be to love Him?

Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornado, etc. kill and are a result of a fallen world, as the fall of Adam and Eve not only changed human nature (became mortal) but corrupted the entire Creation.

It was the fall of Satan that corrupted the creation. I agree that earthquakes, etc. are part of that but God has a hand in them too. They are the "beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8)

How could you love a tyrant who creates and destroys, who wants 'respect,' who wants to be admired, worshipped, glorified, who is vain and selfish, and moody? Unfortunately, that is the God of the West. being 'saved' to the western ears means being saved from God. That is so pathetic and a distortion of the faith He proclaimed.

That is a very distorted view of belief. Of course He wants our respect. How could you not admire and worship Him. He is the creator. The words vain and selfish shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence with His name. Moody - I think He may be. Kosta, we are made in His image and we have emotions. So does He.

I couldn't agree more, :) as long as we understand that 'stopping' evil is not accomplished by doing evil.

Killing someone in certain cases is not evil.

"The vengeance for the choices I made and did not repent of belong to God".....Actually they don't. They belong to satan. Because by being unrepentant, you serve him as your master.

Yes, you would be serving him but only God holds my soul in His hand.

Unfortunately, that is the God of the West. being 'saved' to the western ears means being saved from God.

No Kosta, it means being saved by God to be with Him.

The prayer is called "Bless my Enemies, O Lord."

That was a beautiful prayer but where he said:
Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Instead, I would say:
Bless my enemies, O Lord, Open their eyes so they can see the error of their ways and if they do not please give me the strength to stop their evil whether it be with word or sword.

16,199 posted on 07/19/2007 5:23:04 PM PDT by Ping-Pong
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To: kosta50; Ping-Pong; Diego1618; .30Carbine
FK: "The Reformed position is that indeed, Adam and Eve did choose to disobey. And, that since God knew that would happen when He allowed the serpent in, that this was a part of God's plan."

Then we can't speak of Adam and Eve's "choice." If the Bible were a movie scripted by God, then the "decisions" of the actors would never be taken as truly their decisions, but as decisions made by the author. In other words, they were destined to sin, because God willed it.

That's why many Reformers sort of cut to the chase, and would agree with the basic point you are making. And I agree with what they are saying. However, I nuance it a little bit by saying that the choice is real from the person's POV. If God is truly omnipotent and in full control, then He had to will the sin in the Garden, although He did not force it. He allowed the conditions with omniscience. If the sin was not part of God's plan, then He would have stuck up a "No Serpents Allowed" sign. :)

Furthermore, to love truly is to love freely, and to love freely one must be free and not bound by prescripted outcome.

This is where my nuance comes in. :) Our entire experience is loving freely. We do not experience something akin to an arranged marriage. That would not be free, and your statement WOULD apply to that. But for us, regardless of the truth of what God is doing, the reality IS that we are free to choose. It is real to us, so it counts the same.

This doesn't take away from God's sovereignty, omnipotence or omniscience, in any way, because human freedom, as well as His blessings, are granted freely by God.

Well, I suppose omnipotent God can delegate as He sees fit. It just shows that He doesn't care as much as we say He cares because we say that God doesn't delegate. With every delegation to man, God throws more and more into the realm of luck and chance. The totality of the Bible tells ME that it is not God's style to leave things to luck and chance. Instead of that, God DOES care and takes care of the details Himself. I don't see God's Divine Plan as being packed with variables. I do not see God's POV being however it works out, it works out.

FK: "All the credit goes to God."

It does, because He is the one who made all this possible. He is the maker of everything and all that we have, and that is.

But in the paragraph just before you told me that God was only an "aid" or a "facilitator". That must leave some credit to men for being smart enough to make the right choice.

The Reformed must admit that Adam and Eve's "choice" was inevitable because it was part of God's plan. So, as far as our Calivinist-adhering protestant/Baptist friends are concerned, God did very much "have" them fall.

The first sentence is right. For the second, "have" can be interpreted to mean "cause". Since God did not "cause" it to happen, I use other words to describe what you said in the first sentence.

We are never "worthy" of God's mercy. Believing that we "must be found worthy" is a sure way of not being pardoned. Lay off the OT; it lacks much of the humility Christ preached.

Saying that "we must be found worthy" does not mean that we have anything to do with it. God singlehandedly MAKES us worthy by His work on the cross. Being justified in Christ means all of our sins (past, present, and future) are no longer credited to our account. That is how we are found to be worthy.

16,200 posted on 07/19/2007 7:20:29 PM PDT by Forest Keeper (It is a joy to me to know that God had my number, before He created numbers.)
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